Promoting the Lasting Legacy of Nurse Educators

    • September 9, 2013

Want a lasting legacy? How about becoming a nurse educator? That’s the message behind a powerful advertisement urging nurses to consider careers in the classroom.

“Take the time to inspire one mind, and you might inspire a thousand more,” the ad states. “If you have what it takes to pass on your knowledge and inspire, than you may touch hearts you’ve never seen, save lives long after you’re gone, impact generations you’ll never meet.”

The ad, which first aired on CNN about three years ago, is part of an overall $50 million Johnson & Johnson national initiative, called the Campaign for Nursing’s Future, that is dedicated to addressing a looming nursing shortage. One of its objectives is recruiting and retaining nurse educators; other objectives include enhancing the image of the nursing profession and recruiting and retaining nurses.

Nursing schools are at capacity, explained campaign director Andrea Higham, director of corporate equity at Johnson & Johnson. “We found that there are really two or three reasons that’s happening, the biggest of which is a lack of nurse faculty,” she said. “If you don’t have enough teachers, you can’t admit more students.”

Johnson & Johnson, the maker of many well-known health care products, launched the campaign in 2002 to help rebrand nursing, a profession that had “fallen off the radar” among young people, Higham said. “We wanted to raise the visibility of the profession and get people thinking about what it means to be a nurse.” Learn more about the campaign here.

In 2007, the Johnson & Johnson campaign broadened its focus to include efforts to improve nurse faculty recruitment and retention—a key factor affecting the supply of nurses. With partners including the American Association for Colleges of Nursing and the National League for Nursing, the campaign offers scholarships to aspiring nurse educators from backgrounds underrepresented in the field of nursing, and career development opportunities to junior faculty. It also works to raise awareness about the value of nurse educators through television, print, and interactive advertising.

The efforts are paying off, Higham said. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of people going for advanced degrees.” But there’s no end in sight. The demand for nurses is rising as the population ages and as millions more people enter the health care system due to health care reform. “We always said we would stick with it until the shortage is over or nearing being over,” she said. And that, she added, is still a long way off.

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